BMW excited a fan base recently, with its announcement of a continuation of the famous BMW Films featuring Clive Owen. Previously, BMW Films had made a series of eight short films, all featuring Owen as the driver of a BMW during some sort of action packed chase, called “The Hire”. Owen is set to reprise his role as the famous driver in the new short film “The Escape“.
With Neil Blomkamp (District 9) directing, and Dakota Fanning co-starring, this could be the biggest BMW Film yet. From the recent trailer that was released this weekend, it looks more action-packed than ever and seems to have bumped up the production value significantly. But at the heart of every BMW Films feature is the driving.
In this new film, Owen will be piloting an unknown BMW, as BMW hasn’t released which car will feature in the film, as it hasn’t made its worldwide debut yet (which makes us assume that it’s the new 5 Series). Owen did a lot of his own driving, as a BMW enthusiast himself, but he couldn’t do all of it, especially the more dangerous stuff. To help with that, Matt Mullins, Chief Instructor at BMW’s Performance Driving School, was on hand. The Drive recently caught up with Mullins to talk about being a stunt driver for Owen.
Thankfully, Mullins is a big fan of the previous BMW films and was excited to be a part of the new one. “It was a huge honor. This film series was really big. I remember the watching the first shorts in 2001, when the E39 M5 was the baddest sedan on the planet. I must’ve watched ‘Star,’ with Madonna, shot by Guy Ritchie, about 300 times, just to see that M5 sliding around. I always thought those films were so cool. Now, my daily driver is an E39 M5. [Laughs]”
In the trailer, it seems that there’s some pretty impressive driving being done, with explosions and crashes happening left and right. It’s the sort of chaos typically found in Hollywood action movies. “There’s one scene where some other cars have to smash through a barricade, and I’m in the middle. There is very real car-to-car contact, and you can’t be positive everything will go according to plan.” said Mullins.
The stunt coordinator for “The Escape” was Guy Norris, who previously worked on Mad Max: Fury Road which, if you haven’t yet seen it, has some of the most extreme car chases every put on film. So he knows how to make a good car chase and how to produce some great stunts.
One of the more surprising things about this film, both to us and even to the crew, was that the BMW featured in the film was basically completely stock. A lot of the time, in action movies, stock cars need to be modified a bit to handle the rigor of stunt driving or even to keep up with the action. However, the BMW used here was almost 100 percent as it would be from the factory. “The cars we used had no modifications, beyond a rally brake designed to lock up the rear tires for a skid. Even with camera riggings and all the additional filming equipment added, the car still handled perfectly. It was nearly too much for the camera cars.”
It all sounds very promising and we’re all excited for “The Escape” to make its debut. The previous series of films was so iconic and became such a beloved group of films for BMW fans. We can’t wait for the next one.